Politics & Policy

The Corner

From Collusion to Obstruction

There’s still an obsession with Russia, but the discussion of the Russia investigation has become more and more about obstruction. The two matters are difficult to disentangle, though. If Trump didn’t collude with Russia — or doesn’t have some other criminal secret to hide — it’s hard to see what his corrupt intent would be in an obstruction case.

Jeffrey Toobin makes the case at The New Yorker that the revelation of the attempted firing of Robert Mueller gets us close to obstruction:

Mueller and his team surely have evidence on obstruction of justice that has not yet been made public. But even on the available evidence, Trump’s position looks perilous indeed. The portrait is of a President using every resource at his disposal to shut down an investigation — of Trump himself. And now it has become clear that Trump’s own White House counsel rebelled at the President’s rationale for his actions.

There are a couple of leaps here: 1) When Trump fired James Comey, he wasn’t under investigation by Comey. In fact, Trump may have fired him because he was so irritated that Comey wouldn’t say publicly that he wasn’t himself under investigation. 2) That McGahn (rightly) rejected Trump’s reasoning for firing him doesn’t mean that McGahn believes that Trump’s underlying motive was corrupt. In fact, it’s more likely that McGahn believes such an act would have been catastrophically stupid, in part because letting Mueller do his work will ultimately lead to Trump’s vindication on Russia collusion.

Usual caveat: It’s possible Mueller has damaging evidence of Russian collusion and subsequent obstruction that we’re not aware of. But, from the outside, this increasingly looks like an investigation about an investigation.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More